Bill Heard Chevrolet Plant City

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By Last Minute Villas

Posted on September 6th, 2007

Is car buying a pleasureable experience? 

Absolutely not - but when it goes wrong you need to know that the dealership you have bought from actually cares!! I am pleased (and relieved) to say the dealer I chose does care.

Everyone involved with Last Minute Villas and most of our one million plus readers will know that I am not in the habit of giving free advertising,even though the following will seem to be to the contrary.

Although if Bill Heard wants to pay to advertise they can do!

The saga begins in early August when I decide to buy a new 5th wheel trailer,problem is my beloved Titan truck is not man enough for the job! 

Having studied what was available I decided that the new Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Diesel was the truck to have,as with all American trucks the packages available are many and varied so I decided to have the lot,four wheel drive,LTZ spec,whatever!!

Buying a vehicle in America is not the most pleasureable experience even though the salesman have "The Manual" on "customer speak" whilst I have no problem negotiating deals,to my mind when you buy something expensive you should walk away actually liking the person who sold it to you,my prervious experience of car buying has left me with many "non friends".

To continue we decide to visit Bill Heard Chevrolet in Plant City near Tampa "The biggest Chevy Dealer in the world"

At Bill Heards we were met by Jingho the salesman a quiet guy (who my wife says did not deserve the way I treated him) Jin ho desperately wanted to follow the "manual" but I would not let him mainly because I did not want to spend hours listening to "Hype"anyway to cut it short we did the deal thanks to Jin ho and his patience.

After some 4 hours we drove away very proudly in the new truck.

Next day (any opportunity to drive it) we went to a friends house some 25 miles away,half way there,"reduced engine power" the truck tells me and my word it is correct we are going along a three lane road at 15 miles per hour and needing to cross 3 lanes of traffic scarey or what?

One of the features of this vehicle is "On Star" so I press the button ask them to diagnose the problem,"Accelerator sensor"was the verdict,we limped to our friends house had a great evening and returned to the truck turned the key - perfect!

The following morning off to Plant City where we were introduced to Patrick the service assistant,I have to say he tried hard but I was not exactly pleased about what had happened! 

Thje truck spent the day in the service centre being looked at.

Next day off to Plant City where I was immediately told to see the service Manager (obviously I was right that I was less than kind to Patrick).

The service manager is T.J. DeGiorgio he is the type of guy who as an irrate customer you do not want to meet because as the customer you are ready for a fight but he knew exactly what to say and more importantly for me exactly when to listen! Bill Heard must be pleased to have him. Anyway the problem was disgnosed and fixed (according to the computer!) Not for long however 15 miles to be exact!

Another accelerator sensor is ordered and I return the following day.

To cut what is turning into an epic story short,within half an hour of driving there was a lot of vibration in the vehicle (subsequently found to be a different fault)  but we had a long drive and apart from the niggling vibration all was good and we arranged to take the vehicle back Thursday to sort this out.

Thursday morning - - turn key car tells me I have "reduced engine power" now I am annoyed! On Star tells me its the same fault,I drive 50 plus miles at 30% power back to Bill Heards,T.J. is waiting for me,somewhat embarrassed but also totally professional,he calls Dan, another accelerator sensor is ordered,we have another rental car and off we go!

Next day pick up the truck,10 miles up the road same fault!

General Motors have been contacted,their tech support seem to be at a loss,their only solution now is a new engine control module!

I now know that if you stop for a few seconds turn off the engine and restart the fault is temporarily cured so T.J.orders the new engine control module ready for Monday.

Meanwhile all sorts of things have happened,we have bought the new 5th wheel which is in Tampa which we cannot collect because we have a truck that is in my mind potentially dangerous,my family vacation (12 of us) was arranged months ago and is happening this coming Friday,so those who know me will know exactly what frame of mind I was in,On Monday  T.J. was the absolute professional and I found myself being as patient and I hope as professional as he and Dan Devries (the technician) were being, the new module was being fitted as I left in another rental car!

By this time I had told T.J. that I had no confidence in the vehicle.

Two days later I return the rental vehicle,Dan is smiling (does not happen too often) he has test driven the vehicle and all the tests he has done have shown up no faults.

T.J. has asked his people to try to find me a replacment vehicle because to be honest I dread getting in the thing but if this works I will accept it.Particularly as I am due to collect the 5th wheeler tomorrow!!

Myself and another member of staff Roger test drive the vehicle almost as far as where we need to pick up the 5th wheel get to the traffic lights "reduced engine power"  I am devastated, I am sure the driver is scared so I take over I am getting used to this speed now!!  

We get back to the service bay and T.J. Dan and I now know we have real problems,

It transpires that no vehicles with that spec are available,the 5th wheel is due for collection tomorrow,we go on vacation next week and General Motors tech service have no further suggestions as to how to cure the fault!

Poor Dan is genuinely upset that he had not fixed the problem,it is his day off tomorrow Saturday but he is (subject to T.J. agreeing) working tomorrow just to see if there is something else.

T.J. has arranged for a contactor to pick up the 5th wheel and take it to our house.

He is now in contact with Dave Coval, District service manager for General Motors who appears willing to help but has retrictions because of corporate rules and we still cannot find a replacement vehicle,I am getting more annoyed now because everybody at Bill Heards wants to help but there does not seem a resolution,I am now almost an employee at Bill Heards I have spent something like 8 of the last 12 days there!     

It is now Friday,we go on vacation next Thursday,I now have a 5th wheell I cannot tow and a truck that is in pieces what a great weekend!!

Monday a truck is found that almost exactly matches mine.T.J. and the latest person from Bill Heards to be involved - Rita Garrison (an extremely professional lady) are determined that it will be the replacement for mine,General Motors however will at best take 3 weeks to do the paper work at worst 6 weeks! 

More to follow as things progress!!

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